Superman (casting, rumors, pix till release)

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Obiwanshinobi, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    There's worlds of difference between the Batman TV series and Lester's take on Superman for them trying to be Silver Age depictions of the heroes. Mostly being that Lester was trying way too hard. (See the opening slapstick Rube Goldberg routine during the opening credits.)
     
  2. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ As I understand it, but for Donner, we would have gotten a Superman movie in much the same vein as the Batman tv show. Mario Puzo's original script was totally jokey, including, for example, a scene where Superman flew down to arrest Lex in a crowd. However, when he grabbed 'Lex' from behind, the bald man turned round and turned out to be Telly Savalas, brandishing his Kojak lollipop, with Savalas saying 'Who loves you baby?' Hilarious, I don't think.

    Donner and Tom Mankiewicz ditched all this junk and gave the movie some gravity and respect.
     
  3. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Quite a bit of blue-screen was used for the Superman flying effects in the first film, in addition to the ZOPTIC process (in fact they used just about every technique you can think of in one flying shot or another; they threw the kitchen sink at this movie in order to get it done). They tried to control for different shades of blue in a very narrow range, utilizing some color correction process, with mixed results. The most obvious example of blue-screen gone wrong in the original release prints was a shot of Superman flying past the camera and on toward Boulder Dam in the distance - Supe's suit came off as teal blue, almost green in this shot. It's been corrected in later versions of the film.

    Applying the word "naturalistic" to any aspect of Donner's Superman is incorrect use of the term.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2012
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yes, of course they're not exactly the same, since they're from different creators. The point is that people today often forget that comics at the time were not as different from their contemporary movie adaptations as we tend to assume. What we see in those films and shows is, of course, filtered through their makers' points of view, sometimes more successfully than others (and I think Superman III really holds up better than most people give it credit for), but if you look at the actual comics they were basing it on, you can see that they were trying in their own ways to be authentic, and not mocking or missing the point to the extent that fans today often believe.
     
  5. therealsb63

    therealsb63 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    My apolgies if this was already discussed in the earlier pages, but since Donner's Superman has been mentioned, who prefers which version of "Superman II," the Lester version, or the Donner version? Both have their merits, and one can get the sense Singer based his "Superman Returns" more on the events of Donner's version than Lester's.

    Also, like the touch with the two different teasers released for "Man Of Steel," one voiced over by Pa Kent (Kevin Costner) and the other by Jor-El (Russell Crowe)...the Crowe one is 6 seconds longer and has one extra shot of young Clark.
     
  6. Kai "the spy"

    Kai "the spy" Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I prefer the Donner version, since it's less silly, more epic and generally closer in tone to the first movie. Just imagine its potential were Donner allowed to complete it and hadn't had to use footage from screen tests and Lester.
    Although I really don't get why that ending with Super-Clark getting back at that jerk in the diner was kept. I can see Lester not caring much wether it was true to the spirit of Superman, but Donner/Mankiewicz?!

    Uhm, ... no. In Donner's version, Superman destroys the Fortress at the end, and also doesn't get naughty with Lois until he's turned human (therefore couldn't have conceived a Super-kid).
     
  7. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    I perfer the Lester version of Superman II, the Donner version has the same ending of the first movie and there's some nice bits in the Lester version that's missing in the other one. Lois was better fleshed out in the Donner version but, the rest of the movie feels badly edited and disjointed at least to me.
     
  8. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    To say that Supes can't father a "super-kid" because he's given up his powers assumes that the de-powering process rewrites his genetic make-up. That ain't necessarily so; certainly it's been done differently in more than one comic book story.
     
  9. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I actually prefer the Lester version, even though it includes a lot of silly stuff which is clearly the work of that director (bewigged man losing his toupee in the Metropolis showdown, for example).

    To be fair, the Donner cut is not really exactly how Richard Donner would have made the movie had he had free rein at the time and they've done a great job splicing in unused and screen test footage. But we don't need to see Supes flying back in time to save the world again, do we?

    Had Donner been allowed to make Superman II as he really wanted to, I think we'd have ended up with something even better than either version.
     
  10. SalvorHardin

    SalvorHardin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Lester version, definitely.
    I've only seen the Donner version once but something felt...off. I didn't really like the editing of it much.
     
  11. CorporalClegg

    CorporalClegg Admiral Admiral

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    No. But had Donner been allowed to fully see his vision, the first film wouldn't have ended that way. It's only too bad he didn't have all the necessary footage to do a similar project for the first film so he could show how he intended to work the cliffhanger.

    To be fair, the Donner version isn't so much a film as it is a glorified storyboard. So judging it on the merits of editing isn't really fair. He essentially had to paste together a sculpture using bits and pieces of already formed clay that were either incomplete or not even his.

    Donner's film is so much more focused--even with the editing shortfalls. The themes and concepts are tighter and more defined and the story is a lot more coherent.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I like the "Donner cut" of Superman II much better, except for the ending. My reviews:

    http://christopherlbennett.wordpress.com/2010/08/21/re-evaluating-the-richard-donner-superman-films/
    http://christopherlbennett.wordpress.com/2010/09/07/as-for-lesters-superman-ii/
     
  13. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    You say, "we," and I may be in the minority, but I was certainly aware that the Batman show was not untrue to the comics. But that was because I had read reprints of Batman from every decade. Even if one hadn't, the theme animation, the narration, and the insertion of POW! etc. during the fight scenes were clues.

    And here is where the mainstream expectation, of how a comic book universe should be, may have been what trumped the actual contemporary comic book portrayal, to determine the structure of the film adaptation. As far as I know, and unless I'm mistaken, Otis and Miss Teschmacher were created for the film.

    By the way, while thinking about this, I realized (belatedly, I know) the parallel between Zod, Ursa, and Non on one hand and Luthor, Eve, and Otis on the other: strong male leader, beautiful female subordinate, and idiot male subordinate. Additionally, from http://superman.wikia.com/wiki/Superman:_The_Movie#Trivia:

     
  14. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I know. That's why I said that had Donner been able to make the Superman II he really wanted to make, we'd have gotten something special. I should probably have said 'had he been able to make the two movies he really wanted to make.'

    As it is, though, the ending of Donner cut of II cannot help but be compared to Superman The Movie.
     
  15. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I, too, am another who has some issues with the first two Superman films. I like parts of them, but really dislike others. Then again I saw these when I was 19 and my early 20s so while I enjoyed parts of them I wasn't enthraled by them as so many others seem to have been.

    Essentially I like it up until Lex and companions are introduced and then except for some parts it all basically falls apart for me. And for the most part I didn't care much at all for S2.

    I still much prefer the Superman we saw in the first Season of The Adventures Of Superman. Superman seems less the boyscout and Clark isn't a goof but a credible reporter. And Clark only seems withdrawn in comparison to Phyllis Coates' feisty Lois Lane. Still didn't care for Jimmy Olsen or Perry for that matter though they were worse in the later seasons.

    After that I can skip the Chris Reeve films and go right to the '90s TAS Superman for my preferred version.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    No, I don't think so, since a lot of comic-book villains at that time were pretty broad and comical. It's just that, for whatever reason, they didn't get Lex Luthor himself right. There were a lot of bizarre decisions that went into the first couple of movies, a lot of plot holes due to all the different script drafts and different hands working on them, so there are a lot of issues with them that can't be explained simply in terms of "not getting comics."


    Yes, they absolutely were. Nor were they ever added as comics characters after the movie, as far as I can tell, except that there is an Otis appearing as Lex's assistant in the Smallville Season 11 digital comics, and the character of Tess Mercer in Smallville was loosely inspired by both Eve Teschmacher and Mercy Graves (though owing much, much more to the latter, and eventually turning out to be also based on Lex's sister Lena).


    I think I've seen that remarked before, although Zod and Ursa are much more competent and believable foes than Luthor and Eve.

    Ursa and Non were also original to the film, although they've been added to the comics in recent years. Ursa was basically a renamed version of the Phantom Zone villain Faora, though why they changed the name is beyond me. The film's Zod was sort of a hybrid of the comics' Phantom Zone villains Jax-Ur and General Zod; the original Zod was more of a military man and not an entirely malevolent figure.
     
  17. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Maybe Christopher could clarify, as I was thrown by that too, but I decided that he (probably) just meant to say "realistic."
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, naturalism doesn't mean actually being like reality, it means creating the feel of reality. Donner's buzzword in the production of Superman was "verisimilitude" -- a word that literally means "similarity to the truth." I.e. not actually being the truth, but resembling it, looking and feeling like it. Yes, the characters acted in broad ways and did physically impossible things, but Metropolis had the feel and texture of a real city, the Planet felt like a believable newsroom rather than a Hollywood set, and when Superman took off, it looked like he was actually physically rising into the air. Not to mention that Christopher Reeve acted like he was really, matter-of-factly Superman instead of giving a campy or self-conscious interpretation of Superman. So yes, it was a naturalistic take on a superhero film -- certainly a damn sight more than Burton's or Schumacher's Batman films, say.
     
  19. Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I completely agree. These are things I tried to express above.
     
  20. therealsb63

    therealsb63 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    It has the same ending because Donner envisioned a two-part film from ther beginning and the "turn-back-time" sequence was supposed to be at the end of part two, not one.

    The editing and unevenness is a side effect of how the Donner version had to be reconstructed, as it was never truly finished.